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TX-Sen: John Sharp & Bill White Prove Conventional Wisdom Wrong

by: Phillip Martin

Wed Apr 15, 2009 at 11:24 PM CDT

I decided to make a quick and easy chart to go along with the excellent post David wrote earlier about fundraising numbers in the U.S. Senate race.

Let's take a look at the totals reported so far in the U.S. Senate race:

 U.S. Senate: TX Fundraising Totals (1st Q)
1Q 2009 RaisedCash on Hand
Personal Loans
Bill White
$2,131,638 $0
John Sharp
Roger Williams
 Florence Shaprio
 Elisabeth Ames Jones
 ?? $164,663 ??
 Michael Williams
$181,000 $113,957$51,426

What was all that conventional wisdom from months ago again?

This is still a Republican state, and it will remain so for at least the next presidential cycle.
Texas Democrats can dream, but the only thing likely to be blue in 2012 is their mood.

--Evan Smith, Texas Monthly

Let's look at this again -- does this look like a Republican state to anyone?

 U.S. Senate: TX Fundraising Totals (1st Q)
1Q 2009 RaisedCash on Hand
2 Democrats
4 Republicans$181,000 + ???
Two Democrats have nearly five times as much cash on hand as their four Republican counterparts in the U.S. Senate race.

I bet Republicans wish they could be so blue. Oh, the sadness of having five times as much cash on hand -- and having potentially raised as much as ten times more -- than Republicans after the end of the first quarter.

John Sharp and Bill White each reported some excellent numbers, and there is a lot of reasons to be proud about each of them. What's more, each campaign is reaching out to bloggers this year -- whether we like how they do it or not -- and each has shown some tremendous strength in the simple ways they are organizing their campaigns.

This year, conventional wisdom needs to get thrown out like the rest of the Republican bums that are running this state. Texas Democrats are ready to win today, and so far we've got two great names atop our Party that are helping us make that happen.

Congratuiations to both Sharp and White on strong early numbers. We hope to learn more -- and report more -- about how they intend to put those dollars to use in the coming weeks and months.


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Sharp loan? (0.00 / 0)
Setting aside Sharp's lack of transparency regarding his loan, what does Burnt Orange Nation think Sharp needs to show to demonstrate he has more than net worth but a base? How many donors (White has 1,400)? How much non-loan money?

We have to win this race (0.00 / 0)
If we win this Senate seat, then the national donors will start believing in Texas and we can start investing in our local grassroots infrastructure instead of exporting our resources to other battleground states. That will be the tipping point, so let's get to work and turn Texas blue.

Both White and Sharp are excellent candidates, and we're lucky to have such a strong field. We've never elected a statewide Democrat in my voting lifetime, so I'm thrilled that we finally have a realistic chance to take back Lloyd Bentsen's Senate seat.

If you're in Austin, then swing by one of our upcoming Texans for Obama meetups at Scholz Garten at 6:00pm and get to know these good Democrats:
* May 19 - Bill White
* June 16 - John Sharp

As much as I respect Lloyd Bentsen (5.00 / 1)
I am more excited that we have a chance to talk back Ralph Yarborough's Senate seat.

[ Parent ]
Hear hear! (4.00 / 2)
I'll second that one David.  

[ Parent ]
Agreed (0.00 / 0)
Hopefully Texas will someday be liberal enough to elect another Yarborough-like candidate.

But let's never forget Bentsen's contribution to the TX Democratic Party. His legendary 1982 statewide coordinated campaign helped elect a new generation of Democratic candidates like Ann Richards, Gary Mauro, Jim Mattox, Jim Hightower and Mark White. Without Bentsen's leadership, those down ballot candidates would not have been as successful.

Hopefully this upcoming Senate race will not only provide Obama with a 60th Democratic Senator, but we'll also help elect a new generation of Democrats who can lead us in the 21st century.

[ Parent ]
Ralph got in in 1957 (0.00 / 0)
in a special election with only 38%, lucked out when LBJ and the Shivercrats picked a weak opponent in '58, and was re-elected in the 1964 Dem landslide when he and LBJ made nice for political expediency - LBJ wasn't going to back a primary challenger in his home state to the guy who was sheperding much of his legislative agenda through the Senate.

Texas was probably just as conservative then, if not moreso - the party in charge notwithstanding. I think the demographics exist in Texas to elect a candidate like Ralph Yarborough right now, but the political playing field does not. Maybe we should move the game.  

[ Parent ]
I see what we're trying to do here. (0.00 / 0)
But the fact is that the current Repubs in this race are little more than placeholders. Obviously much of the Republican money for this race is sitting on the sidelines waiting for the real candidate to appear. When he does, expect the rest of these also-rans to bow out and defer.

If the RPT made one thing crystal clear last cycle, it was that they can bring the necessary cash - when necessary. Of course Sharp and White's numbers are encouraging and we shouldn't overlook that, but anyone who thinks an Abbott or a Dewhurst, once engaged, can't match their haul (and then some)is kidding themselves. Same goes for McCaul, who's future is also in limbo as they all wait for KBH to shit or get off the pot.  

Don't agree (0.00 / 0)
I think a lot of Republican money is going to get sucked into the Governor's race, then in taking back the House. In the mean time, Sharp/White can get a nice pot going to build credibility w/ national folks to keep raising more funds.

Now, a very great man once said that some people rob you with a fountain pen.

[ Parent ]
Robert's right (0.00 / 0)
After all, so far no one knows whether Hutchison will be running in 2012.  She might lose her shot at governor and stay in the Senate.  Until that gets resolved, there will not be a serious Republican in the race.  So we will not really know anything until after the primary next year (if she loses), or otherwise after the general election next year.

The second point is that Sharp and White will use up this money running against each other.  Only after the 2012 primary will the winner have a chance to start accumulating cash for the fall.  At that point a serious Republican will be selected and running, and we will have a telling head-to-head match.

No matter what happens, it will be exciting.  We definitely have a reasonable shot at taking this seat back.

[ Parent ]
The senate race is a special election (0.00 / 0)
Dale- KBH has said she will vacate her seat. When she does, it triggers a special election: NO primaries.

[ Parent ]
Well, there's a few caveats here: (0.00 / 0)
a) she could be feinting, and
b) there's a window near the first of the year where she could resign and it would slate the special election for the November 2010 ballot, along with a primary election - which is what I think the NRSC and the RPT want her to do since they don't wanna take a chance on a free-for-all. Plus, the longer she stays in, the more Perry's options narrow re: her replacement.  

[ Parent ]
But her problem (0.00 / 0)
then becomes one of engagement. She can't engage effectively with Perry and build a campaign infrastructure from D.C., but it'll look bad for her to keep her seat while she's down here campaigning. If she doesn't get down here this summer, she could be pissing away her margin for error. Perry has made it clear that he's now on the crazy train, but he may be figuring correctly since those folks show up in GOP primaries. Her only path to victory next March is to present herself as the only viable alternative to perry, to both moderate Rs and Dems alike. If we have a credible candidate exciting our base and keeping them in our primary, that really puts her behind the 8-ball.  

[ Parent ]
November doesn't help Republicans (0.00 / 0)
When 23% of the vote is from the Houston area, the GOP is not helped by high turnout. They want to avoid November '09 and '10 at all costs. But is the election were November 2010, that means Kay waited too long to quit.  Odds are she quits the first opportunity that would NOT trigger a November 2009 election, so the special election would be in May 2010. The Governor does not have a lot of discretion on when to hold that election.

[ Parent ]
Except high turnout was their friend (0.00 / 0)
last cycle, with Harris ballooning way beyond their 2006 proportion. I would think they would not want a special (out of cycle election), because the turnout is far less predictable.  

[ Parent ]
True, but... (0.00 / 0)
There will be a runoff of the top two. Unless they can whittle it down to two GOPers against two Dems, it is unlikely they can send two GOPers into a runoff, so they would still have an unpredictability and off-cycle election.

[ Parent ]
I know what she said (0.00 / 0)
She says a lot of things, and often does differently -- just like any politician, Republican or Democrat.  The reality on the ground is that she is in the Senate and has not resigned.  

Sooner or later she will have to cut deals within her party to get the support she needs to beat Perry in the primary.  It seems likely that support for her will be conditioned upon not resigning until she absolutely has to -- which would be after winning in November 2010.  

It is the smart move for outmaneuvering White and Sharp, who the Republicans do not want to have an even chance of running and winning.  Until 11/10 she does not have to resign.  So I'll believe in this special election when the Governor calls it.  It still looks like Sharp and White have been suckered into staying out of the governor's race.

[ Parent ]
Minor edit (0.00 / 0)
Michael Williams hasn't loaned himself $51k.  Not sure where that came from.  That figure represents invoices that were paid after 3/31.

Further, when was the last time a Dem outraised (not outspent (Sanchez), outraised) a Republican statewide in Texas?  Doesn't happen often.  The Republican Senate candidate will raise plenty of funds to hold this seat.

re: (0.00 / 0)
Further, when was the last time a Dem outraised (not outspent (Sanchez), outraised) a Republican statewide in Texas?  Doesn't happen often.

That's our point .. the conventional wisdom is changing. A Republican could outspend White or Sharp in this race, but it will be Dewhurst or Abbott, not any of the candidates currently running.

That is, unless Roger Williams decides to dip further into his car dealer fortune.

[ Parent ]
re: (0.00 / 0)
We will see about that.

[ Parent ]
I'm willing to bet (0.00 / 0)
Let's bet: Michael Williams will not raise more money than Bill White.

[ Parent ]
Not to rain on a parade (0.00 / 0)
But are the currently serving elected officials on a fund raising ban during the legislative session?

Don't know. Just asking.

Yes (0.00 / 0)
However, I don't think that takes away from the advantage.

Now, a very great man once said that some people rob you with a fountain pen.

[ Parent ]
Abbott and Dewhurst Problems (0.00 / 0)
I haven't checked recently, but Abbott was sitting on MILLIONS of dollars in his campaign account ($6-8 million I think). He cannot transfer ONE DIME to a federal election. He will start at ground zero. Dewhurst is rich. He can self fund. Abbott cannot.  

And neither one of them can shore up support after these other Republicans have been out courting precinct chairs and others for a half year.

So Abbott is not real unless he honestly believes he can generate $15-20 million in 4 months time at $2400 a pop. I think he is waiting to take that pile of cash to run for Lite Gov if Dew runs for senate. Dewhurst could still do this, but he is not being smart about preserving his base. No GOPer is playing a very smart game to keep their intra-party opposition out.  

Also (0.00 / 0)
Dewhurst is a soft boiled egg that couldn't handle the pressure of a real campaign.  

Now, a very great man once said that some people rob you with a fountain pen.

[ Parent ]
I tend to agree with you (0.00 / 0)
but he did beat Sharp by 6 points or so in 2002.

[ Parent ]
Post 9/11 (0.00 / 0)

Now, a very great man once said that some people rob you with a fountain pen.

[ Parent ]
He won't need that much. (0.00 / 0)
A sitting Repub statewide like Abbott could probably win with half that. But I do agree it makes more sense that Dewhurst would jump into the Senate race upon KBH's resignation and Abbott would slide up to LtGuv.  

[ Parent ]
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